Friday, January 25, 2013

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Are Cities really safe?
Now that 2013 has rolled in, charging stations and the EV infrastructure are still being put into place in some cities and then there are cities that are established with multiple charging stations placed on city streets. In the midst of having charging stations installed with ribbon cutting ceremonies, news media, and city and county officials posing for photo opportunities; our emergency responders are being forgotten. We have contacted multiple Fire Departments across the country and each fire chief expressed their concern for the safety of their firefighters. This issue is not just with our first responders; there are State, City and County officials that are just as concerned and now are concerned for the safety of the public.
Accidents such as vehicle strike, vandalism, catastrophic accidents, flooding or other weather related issues puts the general public at serious risk of injury or electrocution. Some stations carry as much as 430 volts/60 amps and do not take much for an accident to occur. Charging Stations without bollards or other safety devices such as curbs can increase the chance of being struck by a vehicle or object. Charging stations that have been struck or vandalized can put a passer-by at serious risk of electrocution if not reported immediately.

Because of the lack of funding due to budget cutbacks; fire departments cannot afford the necessary training on EV charging station safety and while funding was provided to the NFPA for the electric vehicle safety program, there are no plans for funding for electric vehicle charging station safety.  Recently, Greenstar Concepts LLC partnered up with clean city coalitions across the country in order to educate emergency responders and city and county government on the inherent dangers associated with these appliances.   Numerous safety concerns have been discovered by Greenstar and have also been brought to the attention of several agencies in the Federal Government such as the Department of Energy, Homeland Security, NFPA and the US Fire Administration, to name a few.

Greenstar has taken a unique approach to their program by hiring retired fire chiefs, former military and safety experts as instructors. “Our fire chiefs can relate to our target audience and are familiar with the dangers they face in the field” said Greenstar President James Maddox. The Department of Energy awarded out $11 million dollars in the last round of funding for the program and some of the recipients are Clean City Coalition and are plans have been set to use the funds for emergency responder training. 

The electric vehicle charging station safety program educates responders on scene assessment, power termination, proper scene security, notification procedures and much more.  Currently there are no such reporting programs or communication programs amongst multiple agencies in city and county government. Most Fire Departments are not part of the charging station installation process and some cities are creating a process to include multiple agencies once a permit is issued to install a charging station.
Greenstar provides a full 3.5 hour program that covers current issues involving charging stations and we provide complete robust hands on program for our attendees.
To learn more about Charging Station Safety go to: